Educating the masses … on post-frame

Growing post frame’s marketshare with PFMI

By Larry Edema, Chair, NFBA Board of Directors

EdemaI believe that educating the design community about post-frame construction — and reaching out to these professionals in every possible way — is the right direction for our industry. The Post-Frame Market Initiative, through the collective efforts of the National Frame Building Association, industry manufacturers and nearly 100 suppliers and builders, continues to grow the low-rise, light-commercial post-frame market.

Our top priority is to educate architects, designers, building owners and specifiers on the many benefits of post-frame construction. Through an integrated marketing approach using electronic and print media, we continue to contact and educate our target audiences on  key post-frame advantages such as energy efficiency, cost effectiveness and flexibility in design, sustainability, and durability. To date we’ve launched several successful programs:

• A six-module online educational program that teaches design professionals, architects, engineers and specifiers about post-frame building. This program is promoted through direct-mail, trade shows, web and print advertising and articles in our monthly Post-Frame Advantage e-newsletter.
• A college curriculum for post-frame diaphragm design for use in undergraduate engineering schools.
• Seminars on post-frame construction at industry trade shows.
• Exhibits at industry trade shows on post-frame construction.
• Webinars such as Introduction to Post Frame Building Systems and Structural Design of Post-Frame Systems.

Baseline Surveys
PFMI also conducts several baseline surveys.

• Our lumber survey finds that lumber yards are reporting “significant sales to the post-frame market.” The survey notes that increases in construction in the post-frame market will have a positive impact on a wide variety of wood products.
• Our 2009 Design Community Perception and Attitude Benchmarking survey finds that 38 percent of 1,321 respondents — mostly designers, architects and engineers — had specified post-frame in the past.
• An annual roll former survey is used in fund-raising efforts with NFBA members and metal-related associations such as the National Coil Coating Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute.
• A Consolidated Construction Industry Statistical Program, funded by metal-industry associations, assesses the use of exterior wall and roofing panels and competing construction materials.

Educational Modules
Three online educational modules for architects will be posted on PostFrame this summer. The series provides an overview of post-frame construction and the basics of diagram design for architects and emphasizes the benefits of post-frame construction — a key message of PFMI. Titles for the modules are Post Frame: A Light Commercial Mainstay, The Six Benefits of Post-Frame Construction, and Introduction to Structural Design of Post-Frame Building.

Web-Based Lead Generation
An enhanced web-based lead generation system for builders was launched last March to coincide with the 2011 Frame Building Expo. The website’s home page features a prominent invitation to design professionals to use the lead system to “find a post-frame builder” in their area. Those interested in finding a post-frame builder can enter their contact and project information and, upon submission of the online form, view a list of NFBA builders within a 250-mile radius of the project zip code — along with the ability to contact these NFBA members directly.

Builders also can receive notification that their information has been given to a potential customer. They can login to the system to access a list of their project leads, dates the lead was received, project details, contact information and download the lead contact information for sales and marketing purposes.

Online and Print Advertising
Last February, NFBA launched an advertising campaign promoting PFMI and the newly designed Ads featuring the new website have been placed in prominent architectural publications and websites. With careful analysis of industry publications, NFBA placed ads featuring attractive post-frame building in nationally recognized architectural and building publications.

PFMI Website
News regarding the redesigned PFMI website was launched in March 2011 via e-blasts to PFMI’s target audience, Post-Frame Advantage e-newsletter subscribers, a PFA website exhibit, signage at the 2011 Frame Building Expo in Indianapolis and industry print and online publications. Builders also can upload images of their light-commercial building products to the site for public viewing. Other enhanced features include a clear outline detailing the advantages of using post frame as a building method; convenient access to free post-frame construction resources; industry news; and design and calculation tools.

NFBA members can get behind PFMI by helping us with contributions, however modest. Your financial help will enable us to create even more tools to help us promote post-frame construction to architects, code officials, building managers, and other influencers.

You can also promote PFMI by posting the link on your website, or by scheduling educational lunches and other networking opportunities with architects. I look forward to hearing about your PFMI-related projects when we meet at the 2012 Frame Building Expo in St. Louis, February 29–March 2.

Edema is the chair of the NFBA Board of Directors and assistant sales manager for Wick Buildings.

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